Silky Roasted Zucchini Sauce with Garlic and Peppers

I don’t think there is such a thing as too many zucchini recipes. It seems like every year towards the end of summer, gardeners and farmer’s market shoppers are faced with more zucchini than they can handle—so I’m throwing this Silky Roasted Zucchini Sauce into the ring as a prime contender to help alleviate the “problem.”

zucchini pasta sauce on spaghetti with parmesan cheese.

Why is this Zucchini Sauce is so great?

  • You can make it with those gigantic baseball bat-sized zucchini. A little bit of sponginess on the inside is totally fine here. It’s a great way to use up the zucchini that are no longer fit for some other, more refined uses.
  • You only need three ingredients to make it. Zucchini, peppers, garlic. (Plus salt and olive oil). 
  • Prep only takes about 10 minutes of your life. The rest happens slowly, in the oven, while you get on with your business.
  • You can use it in so many ways! Toss pasta in it, top meat or fish with it, stir it into a creamy soup, stir it into a risotto, or use a spoonful to top your breakfast tacos

What you’ll need to make this recipe

This Zucchini Sauce only has 3 basic ingredients, so no need to make a big long grocery list!

Zucchini – As I mentioned before, any size of zucchini will do. Big ones, small ones, or limp ones from the back of your crisper drawer

Bell peppers – I generally use a mix of yellow and red peppers, but steer clear of green peppers as they just don’t offer the sweetness we’re going for here

Garlic – A lot of it, ie: A whole head

Olive oil – Extra virgin is best. The olive oil really serves an important purpose in this sauce. It acts as sort of the bridge between the veggie flavours and adds a nice fatty richness to the sauce.

Salt – Because without it, the sauce would taste like nothing.

How to make this Silky Roasted Zucchini sauce with Peppers and Garlic

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 325 F (165 C).

Step 2 – Chop the zucchini into large chunks, about 2 centimetres or 1 inch in diameter, and place it into a large bowl.

Step 3 – Core the peppers and slice them into somewhat fine strips. The peppers take longer than the zucchini in the oven, so chopping them smaller will help even out the cooking time. Add them to the bowl too.

Step 4 – Mince or grate the garlic finely and add it to the bowl.

Step 5 – Add the salt and olive oil to the bowl, and toss very well until everything is coated nicely.

Step 6 – Spread the veggies onto a heavy baking tray or dish. They should just fit in a single layer without too much extra space around, otherwise, they could burn. If you don’t have the right-sized roasting vessel, you might need to split the mixture up among two or three dishes.

Step 7 – Roast the veggies for 30 minutes, then stir/toss and continue to roast for 1.5 hours or until the zucchini and peppers are soft enough to be mashed easily with a fork.

These veggies are about halfway there!

Step 8 – Mash the zucchini and peppers with a fork or a potato masher until they reach the desired level of silky chunkiness. 

Step 9 – Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary.

Tips for success

These success tips will help ensure your Zucchini Sauce comes out perfectly every time.

  • Use a heavy-bottomed roasting vessel to prevent the veggies from burning. We’re going for a slow-roasted melty vibe, not a crispy crunchy vibe. For example, a casserole dish would be a better choice than a thin cookie sheet for this recipe.
  • Don’t try and save on dirty dishes by skipping the bowl-toss. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—the bowl-toss is a critical step for making sure every little morsel of veggies is coated nicely with the oil, salt, and garlic. 
  • Make it ahead! This Zucchini Sauce is one of those things that really benefit from being fridge-cooked.* 

*Fridge-cooking – My boyfriend’s term for when you put food in the fridge and it becomes better the next day. It’s a household word around our house!

What goes well with this Roasted Zucchini Sauce?

This Zucchini Sauce goes so well with so many things! It makes a perfect zucchini pasta sauce of course, but it’s also a total winner as a topping for roasted meat, fish, tacos, fried eggs, it can be tossed with nutty grains like brown rice or farro for a quick cozy salad, it can be stirred into simple soups and stews as a little condiment, the list goes on.

zucchini sauce, a roasted chicken leg, salad, and potatoes on a dinner table.

Here are some ideas to start with

  • Serve on top of a grilled pork chop or chicken thigh
  • Toss with spaghetti (and a bit of the pasta water) and top with crumbly parmesan cheese for a delicious zucchini pasta sauce
  • Make a basic lentil soup less basic by adding a dollop of this chunky sauce on top
  • Spoon over toast and crumble some feta cheese on top
  • Add it to bean tacos or quesadillas
  • Add sour cream or heavy cream to make it a creamy zucchini sauce!
  • Or if you’re like me, you’ll just stick a jar of it on the dinner table and see what happens!

Storage, freezing, and reheating tips

When tightly sealed in a jar or food-safe container, this Zucchini Sauce will easily last for up to a week in the fridge. But if you’re making a whole whack of it and need it to last for longer, it freezes perfectly. Just remember to leave a bit of space in the containers so they don’t explode when the sauce expands in the freezer.

I tend to recommend using up freezer items within 3 months or so. When it’s time to defrost, transfer it to the fridge and allow it to defrost overnight.

I haven’t tried preserving this sauce using a canning method yet, but I’d like to in the future! Because the ingredients aren’t especially high in salt, acid or sugar, I’m not sure how to preserve them properly. If you’re a canning expert and have any suggestions, please let me know!

As far as reheating is concerned, I generally tend to eat this sauce cold, or at room temperature. Unless I’m tossing it into something hot, in which case, it reheats naturally when it hits the hot food. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this in the Instant Pot instead of the oven?

You can, but the sauce will be lacking in that delicious roasted flavour and it will be more liquidy because the liquid stays trapped inside the Instant Pot rather than evaporating away.

Can I use a blender instead of a fork or potato masher?

Sure! Your sauce will be silky smooth instead of silky/chunky. If that’s what you’re into, have at it!

Can I add any additional herbs or spices to this sauce?

Absolutely. Although because I tend to use this Zucchini Sauce as a sort of multi-purpose condiment,  I prefer to keep it pretty neutral flavour-wise and add herbs and/or spices to the individual things I’m adding it to. For example, once I’ve tossed my spaghetti with it, I might add some fresh basil or red pepper flakes to the pasta itself.

Need more zucchini recipes?

I’ve got you. Here are some great ones to celebrate your zucchini bounty with!

Zucchini Miso Butter

Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Chickpeas

Silky Roasted Zucchini Sauce with Garlic and Peppers

Silky Roasted Zucchini Sauce with Garlic and Peppers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This roasted zucchini sauce only has 3 ingredients and is perfect as a pasta sauce or a vibrant topping for fish or meat. Simplicity wins!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F (165 C).
  2. Chop the zucchini into large chunks, about 2 centimetres or 1 inch in diameter, and place it into a large bowl.
  3. Core the peppers and slice them into somewhat fine strips. The peppers take longer than the zucchini in the oven, so chopping them smaller will help even out the cooking time. Add them to the bowl too.
  4. Mince or grate the garlic finely and add it to the bowl.
  5. Add the salt and olive oil to the bowl, and toss very well until everything is coated nicely.
  6. Spread the veggies onto a heavy baking tray or dish. They should just fit in a single layer without too much extra space around, otherwise, they could burn. If you don’t have the right-sized roasting vessel, you might need to split the mixture up among two or three dishes.
  7. Roast the veggies for 30 minutes, then stir/toss and continue to roast for 1.5 hours or until the zucchini and peppers are soft enough to be mashed easily with a fork.
  8. Mash the zucchini and peppers with a fork or a potato masher until they reach the desired level of silky chunkiness. 
  9. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 88Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 533mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 2g

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